The Crystal Unicorn Tarot by Pamela Chen

The Crystal Unicorn Tarot by Pamela Chen and illustrated by Lisa Higuchi lets the unicorns and rainbows loving child in you become the Oracle. With the standard symbology of the Rider-Waite-Smith deck in place, this deck is interchangeable with the original Rider pack.

This deck was blowing up everyone’s feed a while back, and I can totally see why. They are absolutely adorable. Like the extra card, “Donut Worry.” That the Donut Worry card is a cheeky bonus the way the Happy Squirrel card is and this one features a little squirrel by the unicorn… Omg. ::dies::

Candy colors remind me of the pre-Kindergarten girl I used to be, getting up early on weekday mornings to watch cartoons. (My personal favorites, if anyone’s asking, were My Little Pony, Glo-Worms, Strawberry Shortcake, and Care Bears.) By the way, a world-renowned psychologist and professor did research on beneficial effects of kawaii on us, which I’ll get into toward the end of this review, reinforcing why a deck like Crystal Unicorn holds such power.

The cards feature two unicorns, one with pink hair and one with purple hair, and they’re the two protagonists that appear throughout the scenes. The Fool’s Journey becomes a story of love, or maybe friendship, or both.

Crystal Unicorn Tarot reminds me of my girlhood because in my grade school years, I loved sketching unicorns. One time my father sat down and observed me doodling unicorns (horse figures), but didn’t voice any comment. A short while later, there was a hardcover drawing reference book on horses waiting for me on my bedroom desk. Unfortunately I was eight years old and the drawing reference book was most likely intended for university-level art major students, so it went straight over my head and I absorbed nada.

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The Witchling Academy Tarot by Pamela Chen

Llewellyn released The Witchling Academy Tarot earlier in the year, a deck by Pamela Chen and illustrated by Mindy Zhang, an anime illustrator whose primary medium is ultra-femme and kawaii digital art. Pamela Chen is also the creator of the Crystal Unicorn Tarot (which I’ll be reviewing in the near future), a spiritual life coach, and energy healer. You can watch a great video interview of Chen on Wai Asks, by another fellow tarot content creator, Wai Yim.

This deck takes me back to my girlhood days, and it’s wonderful. The Rider-Waite-Smith gets a magical girl manga makeover and the result is a graphic novel inspired by East Asian comic styles with all the witch school YA tropes we love.

In a whimsical homage to the Fool’s Journey, the running theme through this deck is a legendary apprentice from the Academy named Charlie and her Harry Potter-esque adventures through witch school, discovering her family history, dueling with a witch school nemesis, learning basic spellwork, mastering the elements, meeting magical mentors, and forging memorable friendships.

The guidebook accompanying the deck reads like a student orientation manual for a new enrollee at the Witchling Academy of Magic, even beginning with a Witchling Academy Charter that gives you an overview of the mission statement, vision, and structure of the Academy, all of which is a metaphor for your personal spiritual journey as a witchling in the real world.

The school (and the deck) provides a fully comprehensive magical education via four Houses, each House focused on a specific curriculum. You’ve got the House of Wands where you’ll channel fire magic, the House of Cups for potion crafting, the House of Pentacles for healing and growing plants, and the House of Swords for enhancing your combat abilities.

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